The Fog Never Hides the Always Bright Nebbiolo


May 13, 2013

The Nebbiolo grape dates back to the 1st Century AD.  It grows beautifully in the mountains of Piedmont where there’s a fog that illuminates the sky. The word Nebbia in Italian means Fog.  Some say the word Nobile, meaning noble is the origin.   Instead of boring you with my fascination of history, allow me to provide you with what to expect when you add time, proper conditions and top producers to your collection.   Overall, no matter how you look at the word, the grape is one of beauty.

Wine Club Miami decided two months before they wanted to try “Old World”.  As I looked at the options, I kept drawing myself back to Piedmont.

We selected the Gaja Barbaresco 1995 and the Gianfranco Alessandria – Barolo San Giovanni 2007.  In 1995 “they” stated Piedmont produced “Very good quality, but some hail damage; stick to top producers” giving an average score of 88 points.  As 2007 was exemplified with 95 points, “A warm, dry year; wines offer flesh and immediate appeal”.


On delivery, I had the bottles tack a nap in my cooler from the Collector we acquired them from.  I opened them two hours before our tasting.  I did not want to decant them because I felt the process was too rough an action on the delicate wines.

As the club all stated they were at the perfect temperature, I replied, “I’m not the President for nothing.”

13_WineClubMiami_05_009The first tasting was the Gianfranco Alessandria – Barolo.  The color was typical to the young Barolo, ruby, light in color with no sediment.  The nose was of a ripe cherry, strong alcohol and tobacco.  The taste was complex but lacked depth.  We discovered hints of chocolate, pepper, some strong tannins with a medium to long finish.  We gave this young eagle a 7.9 out of 10.  It can sit for another 10-20 years, but was a great bottle.

Following was the Gaja Barbaresco.   The age was apparent in the crimson color.  The nose had a chocolate, soft fruit, earthy with supple blackberries.  On the palate it was silky and smooth.   It would form a soft film over the teeth.   This bottle was a beautiful wine with finesse.  We rated it an 8.3.  It can hold for another 5-10 years easily.

We wish to welcome aboard the team, Mr. David Yarus.  He is the Chief Operating Officers at International Wine Storage.  He inspects and samples our bottles with a keen knowledge and shows to be a powerful impact to the club.  Did we remind you he is consistent with attendance??





April 2013 – Napa Cab Vertical Tasting

Wine Club Miami April 2013 Wine Club Miami April 2013

April 2, 2013
Napa Valley – Cabernet Sauvignon Five Bottle Vertical Tasting ’02-‘06

A Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon speaks for itself.  If you ask any West Coast local about the wines from Napa, they will adamantly state it’s the best wine in the world.

Wine Club Miami was able to get a hold of an exceptional five bottle vertical.   We explored this vertical to understand how a skillful winemaker can harness their yields and create quality wines sequentially.  As some know, five years of harvests can produce a variety of flavors and textures from the same vines.   Sampling them side-by-side is the best way you can take a sensually ride that the land had.

We decided to start with the youngest following through to the aged.  This allowed the young flavors of 2006 to be true in flavor as the eldest would not become overpowered.  The team encountered amazing flavors and one that was rare… Can you explain the taste of Cassis??  Well, these experiences are the unique tastes that improves our palates for concise tastings and great times.


2006 – Plum color, floral and soft body.  No tannins, with a soft finish.  The average points for a 2006 are 95 pts.  Suggest to hold.

2005 – Same Plum color, a riper nose.  Soft spices spicy.  It has a smooth texture and soft body. The average points for a 2005 are 92 pts.  Suggest to hold.

2004 – Here the classic Napa Cabernet is expressed.  Ripe fruits, a bit earthy and soft oaky nose.  You could smell the harvest was ripe.  The body was full with soft tannins.  It expressed a few layers on the palate.  Drink now or hold.  The  average points for a 2004 are 95 pts.

2003 – The transition from 2004 to this vintage was subtle compared to the history.  It was holding together well.  A soft ripe nose, softer tannins.  It was a great wine.  Soft finish.  The average points for a 2003 are 85 pts.

2002 – A powerful nose of fruits.  Full bodied and stronger tannins.  A great wine.  The average points for a 2002 are 93 pts.

So what were the wines we experienced?  They were from the manufacturer, Sempre Vive from Calistoga, California.  These bottles were obtained through an exclusive purchased at $20 per bottle in the vertical only.   We also complemented the wines with the Italian cuisine from Cara Mia Trattoria.  The powerful flavors of the food and the cabernet was a perfect match.

I have received interest in enrollment into the club.  At the moment we have full capacity of tasters.  When a seat becomes available we shall advise you.  The Club has two basic rules. Rule #1: Commitment to attendance for the tastings are mandatory.  Rule #2: Obey rule #1.


Wesley A Castellanos, President

Wine Club Miami April 2013Wine Club Miami April 2013Wine Club Miami April 2013


February 2013 Tasting “Knock your socks off”

Tuesday, February 26th

As the club raises their sail, the group is asked a simple question.

“Which bottle will knock a taster’s socks off?”  Meaning, which wine has the most intensity, full body and power to overwhelm all other wines?

Wine Club Miami February 2013Members were paired to start the search.   Two bottles came from Napa Valley.  We can all agree that the characteristics of a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley were right for the tasting, but you’ll be surprised where they ended up in our list.   However the successor was the generous Joseph Phelps, Insignia 2001.  In comparison to the rest, it shined brightly beside the others from the beginning and transformed in to a graceful giant as the winner.   The award was given to Jeff Tennen and Andrew Cohen, something tells us that this duo is prepared for a challenge and know how to impress a sophisticated wine group.  We paired the exotic flavors of Mandolin’s Aegean Bistro to compliment the favors of Food & Wine pairing.

Each bottle was placed in specially crafted silk cover and general notes were collected.  Find which bottles matched the colors further below.

  1. Gold – Ripe Cherry, Robust and tannic. Crisp finish (5.7pts.)
  2. Green – Vanilla Bean, light body and crisp finish (6.5pts.)
  3. Red – Earthy Nose, light body soft tannins and long acidic finish (5.4pts.)
  4. Copper – Earthy and cherry. Full bodied and strong long finish. (8.2pts.)


  1. Chateau Longoa Batron  – Saint-Julien 2005-  Bordeaux, France $65.
  2. Two Hands – Max’s Garden Heathcote 2006 – Shiraz  – Victoria, Australia $67.
  3. Chateau Montelena  – Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – Napa Valley, California $60.
  4. Joseph Phelps  – Insignia 2001 – Napa Valley, California $175.

Wine Club Miami February 2013

With two guests, they provided wines for sampling, Roger Sabon, Chateauneuf  Du Pape 2003, France & Villa Di Cecciano, Chianti Classico 2006, Italy.  The Roger Sabon was a classic Du Pape of the ’03 vintage having excellent balance and a soft nose.  The Villa Di Cecciano tasted impeccably.  The powerful nose and robust flavor was a solid Chianti.  This Chianti was so unique that it will be regarded as an outstanding buy.  We suggest to try it as it is one of a kind.  This wine raises the bar and is why Chianti is a leader of Old World Wines.  Thank you Mr. David. Yaris and Mr. Chris Caplan.

Wine Club Miami February 2013


January 2013 Tasting

Collectables at Our Fingertips

Wine Club Miami - January 2013 TastingLadies and gentlemen,

As Wine Club Miami embarks into their 2013 tastings, they have become inspired to find the highest quality wines money can offer. As the new President, Wesley Castellanos guides the way, his course of direction is to experience “once-in-a-lifetime” bottles.   Through the collaborative efforts of the club, our contributions have leveraged us to obtain hard to find wines.

Dryness is the last thing you normally have to worry about in Miami’s humid climate, but five out of six corks broke because of dryness. I blame myself! The level of my excitement rushed. I recommend to gently open under extreme patience. Play some classical music and open with the most delicate of hands.  — Wesley

Wine Club Miami new and past presidents, Wesley Castellanos and Matt Hege
Wine Club Miami new and past presidents, Wesley Castellanos and Matt Hege


2000 Matriarch, Bond Estates, Napa Valley

WINE NOTES: Deep ruby color, sugars apparent in the direct light with some slight sediment.  Spicy nose, freshly cracked black pepper, vanilla bean, ripe cherries, high alcohol on the palate, with the most delicate tannins.  A long silky finish. This gem can age another 5-10 years.  One of the most impressive wines I had. W.C.

Wine Club Miami - January 2013 Tasting

2000 The Maiden, Harlan Estates, Napa Valley, Red Bordeaux Blend

WINE NOTES: Dark plum red, no sugars or sediment in the light.  Hints of fresh tobacco leaves and ripe cherries on the nose.  A slightly velvety texture that swirled over the palate.  A soft and delicate body.  The finish lasted quite some time as it passed the throat. This bottle has aged to perfection and is ready to drink right now. W.C.

Wine Club Miami has agreed that this Collection is one that will be an impression to last decades.  Great job wine makers!  We commend you on your talents.
Wine Club Miami - January 2013 Tasting
January’s tastings were again hosted by the spectacular Tuyo restaurant in downtown Miami.Wine Club Miami - January 2013 Tasting Wine Club Miami - January 2013 TastingWine Club Miami - January 2013 Tasting


2012 Vin Review

It’s time to uncork our Vino Miami blog and finish off another enjoyable wine filled year. Memorable wines and memorable times have marked our calendar with a few notable moments and enjoyable wines to remember along the way. We started out tasting thru the old country with several noatable wines. Lively conversation and a new scoring approach marked our first few tastings. LMNT in Wynwood was the spot and 2010 Principessa Gavia “Gavi” with a overall score of 8.37 was the highest scoring white of the year.

In April, We enjoyed Matt Jewel’s rooftop setting for an Italian tasting.

The May Beer party was a nice break as we ventured off the wine path and hit South Beach for the love of Beer.

Back into the tastings as we explored the French and found a new definition for “Bait and Switch”… A French Discrepancy marked our night at the French Cafe, “Oui, we like wine but, we charge corkage…” Our night at Buena Vista Bistro also marked Wesley’s first wine club event as a member.

Chateau Mahmoud was the setting for the September tasting featuring blended whites and reds from California.

A great Miami evening with notable wines including the winning the highest scored red wine for the year the Justin Isosceles 2008 Paso Robles Blend ranking 8.22

We wrapped our year with  our final two tastings at the Miami Culinary Institute’s  Tuyo.

Terrific food, excellent service and nice wines directed our attention and our scoring. Ending our blind tastings with the 2009 Chateau Carigan Primm marking our final wining red wine.

Best, your wine captain! –Matt Hege


November 2012 Blind Tasting

Miami Culinary Institute’s Wine Theater set the stage for the November tasting of White Burgundy and 2009 Bordeaux


The winning White Burgundy was the Vincent Prunier Chassage – Montrachet with a 7.4 score, presented by Mosheim/Issa/Smith. A tie for second and third place goes to 2010 William Fuve with a score of 7.22 provided by Jewel/Mahmoud/Cohen and the Mercurey Chateau de Chamirey provided by Hege/Tennen/Gamson/Castellanos. Well enjoyed and well liked whites with solid scores to accompany the last White blind tasting of 2012.


The winning red wine in 1st place was the 2009 Chateau Carigan Primm with a score of 7 provided by Tenen/Hege/Castellanos/Gamson. 2nd place was awarded to 2009 Pipea Saint Emillian Grand Cru provided by Mosheim/Smith/Issa and scored 6. The Third place wine is the 2009 Chateau Telmac Saint- Julien provided by Jewel/Mahmoud/Cohen and scored 5. Young wines is the consensus and were enjoyable to mark our last red wine tasting.


October 2012 Blind Tasting

Terrific evening at Tuyo set the stage for the October tasting of Western Australia Chardonnays and Mclaren Vale Shiraz.


The winning Western Australian white was the Jip Jip Rocks 2011 with a 6.5 score, presented by Mosheim/Issa/Smith. Second place goes to 2010 Evans and  Tate Margaret River with 6.1 score provided  by Jewel/Mahmoud/Cohen  and the third place wine is The Wishing Tree 2009 at 5 score provided by Hege/Tennen/Gamson/Castellanos. Nice white wines that seem off the usual wine path of typical chardonnays. Less oaky and more grape oriented as the tasting notes will allude to.  Low to moderate scores as the group seem to be split on these wines.


The wining red wine in both 1st and 2nd place was the 2010 Blue Eye Boy provided by Tenen/Hege/Castellanos/Gamson and provided by Mosheim/Smith/Issa and scored a  7.1 and 7 respectively. The Third place wine is the Two Hands 2010 Mclaren Vale Angels Share provided by Cohen/Mahmoud/Jewel and scored 6.1.


September 2012 Blind Tasting

Chateau Mahmoud was the setting for the September tasting featuring blended whites and reds from California. A great Miami evening set the stage for our monthly blind tasting.


The winning California blended white was the Conundrum 2010 at $19.00 by Cohen/Jewel/Mahmoud with a 5.4 score, and ranked a 7 by our guest Topher Hoffmann. Second place goes to Shenandoah 2010 at $15.50 provided by Tennen/Hege/Gamson/Wesley with a 4.2 score with a 7 by Tohper.

A non blended wine was entered into the tasting and scored the highest ranking for all three wines. The Chappellet 2009 Chardonnay with a score of 5.6 provided by Mosheim/Smith/Issa. A terrific non-oaky well balance Chardonnay.

These whites were a mixed bag with the group noting various tasting elements including more sweet and fruity, heavy bouquets for winning blended wine and with other blended wine seeming to loose it’s flavor over time and too soft. It should be noted the white tasting was overall very low on all scores and noted as as average or below average.


The winning red blend was the Justin Isosceles 2008 Paso Robles Blend at $49 a bottle provided by Tenen/Hege/Castellanos/Gamson with a 8.22 ranking and scored a 7 by Topher Hoffmann. Second place was awarded to the Girard Napa Valley Artistry 2008 and scored a 7.22 and provided By Mosheim/Smith/Issa and scored a 6 by our guest. The Third place wine is the 2008 Napa Nook scored a 6.55 provided by Cohen/Mahmoud/Jewel and scored a another 6 by our guest, Topher. All three wines were 2008 vintages.

Tasting Notes

from Wesley A. Castellanos

White California Blend

1. Minerals and steel nose, stones and lead taste, a tight crisp finish 5pts.  Lacks body and texture
2. Light Apricot and lemon vest, kiwi and ripe peace, crisp finish 6pts.  Good character.
3. Soft toast oak nose with hints minerals on the palate, soft finish. 5pts. A lesser competitor..

Reds California Blends

1. Flowers, earth, ripe cherries and powerful nose, spice sweet and soft body sharp taste, and smooth finish. Keeps transforming. 9pts Impressive….Ready to drink but can age a few more years.
2. Light soil and metal nose, lacks body, dry pepper warm finish. 5 pts.  I can find the notes, but not impressive.
3. Lilly lilac nose, oak nose, wheat alcohol taste and light body, crisp finish. 8pts. A “beautiful” wine.  Not overpowering elements. Great Character….

Terrific selection and excellent food pairings as everyone scored high on these well enjoyed wines with above average rankings along with an exceptional 8.22 for the Justin. Well done Cohen/Mahmuod/Issa for a nice blind and a great night.

Get ready for the October tasting, with information coming up.

Best, your wine captain! MH


August 2012 Blind Tasting

Enjoyable wine night and Mandolin was a perfect setting for our Albarino and Priorat tasting. Many thanks to Abraham and his team for arranging and the staff at Mandolin for terrific Greek cuisine with no corkage!


The winning Albarino was the Las Canan, 2011 Rias Baixas provided by Smith/Mosheim/Issa with a 7.11. Second goes to Fidosela 2010 Consecha Rias Baixas with a score of 6.5 provided by Tennen/Hege/Gamson/Wesley-last name Third place goes to Nessa, 2011 Riax Biaxas with a score of 6.11 provided by Cohen/Mahmoud/Jewel

These whites were well liked with the group noting various tasting elements including subtle fruits and minerals with a soft and easy drinkability. It should be noted that this white blind tasting had the tightest scoring noted as all wines were slightly separated with a few members in scoring with mostly above average scores.


The winning Prioat was the Mas D’EN Compte 2007 with an overall score of 8.11 provided by Cohen/Jewel/Mahmoud. Second place was awarded to Plaret 2004(more info if you have a photo)and scored a 8 provided by Tennen/Hege/Gamson/Wesley as a last minuet just in time addition. Third place wine is the Gotes 2010 and scored a 6.7 provided by Smith/Mosheim/Issa.

Lush full bodied wines with a fruit forward with a strong influence of Grenache coming thru. Another nice red tasting with wines that were exceptional. Hat’s off to Paul and his team for picking terrific wines to learn about and enjoy.

Tasting Notes

from Wesley A. Castellanos


1. Soft touch of grapefruit with crisp green apple nose, peach fuzz hints, light body, mineral finish. 8
2. Apricot and mineral nose, soft light body that offers hints of stone fruit, bitter mineral finish. 7
3. Star fruit with mineral nose, dry mineral taste and finish. 7.5


1. Ripe cherry with a sweet oak nose, full body. Great finish. 8
2. Oaky cherry, soft and balanced body with tart taste, Soft Tar and coal finish. 7
3. Toasty and oak nose, soft body with dry taste, no structure. 5

We are getting set for our next blind tasting in September with Mahmoud/Cohen/Jewel hosting at Saad’s casa with a confirmed date of September 18th. Wine details to follow.

Until then, your wine captain! MH


July 2012 Blind Tasting

A nice French wine theme night at Buena Vista Bistro as we explore Sancerre and Bordeaux from St. Estephe. We congratulate our newest member Wesley and appreciate him bringing the 2009 Château Saint Andre Cerbin to end our evening.

Wine Notes:


The winning Sancerre was the was wine # 3 Las Reine Blance Vignerons a Veding provided by Smith/Mosheim/Issa with a 6.6 score and ranked with a overall score of 6 by our new member Wesley.

Second and third place goes to wine #1-#2 with a score of 5 2009 Essential Domaine de La Rossignole and the colder of the two identical wines in the tasting as we then score this same wine for third place at 4.375 with Weley providing a 4 and 5 respectively.

In all Sancerre was not a hit and seemed to be one of the lowest scored white wine so far this season with an identical wine as well with different temperatures making the slight ranking from the two scores.


The winning red was wine #2 2009 Chateau Lilian Ladouys Gran Vin with an overall score of 8.25 and scored 9 by our guest provided by Mosheim/Smith/Issa. Second place was awarded to wine #3 the 2005 Chateau Laton Rochet at 7.5 and scored 6 our guest provide by Tenen/Hege/Gamson. Third place wine #1 2007 Chateau De Pez Grand Vin 6.7 and scored 6 by Wesley provided by Cohen/Jewell. All nice years and moved above the assigned $50.00 price point on the 2005 wine.

Tasting Notes:

Wesley did another terrific job of providing us with tasting notes and have provided them below for reference and for comparison.
Last Night’s Notes:

Sight, Nose, Taste and Finish

1. Light gold, Light lemon zest nose, soft on the palate. Open up then faded fast. Unfortunately vinegar from salad is not allowing the body out. needs to age. 6 pts
2. Light soft gold, super light stone fruit nose, lemon zest on the palate, airy no body, acidic finish. 4 pts
3. Light color again, Mineral nose, stones/rocks on the palate, and soft mineral finish.. 6pts.

St. Estephe
1. Dark cherry color, Musty-chalky and rubber nose, eraser and lead palate with lots of tannins, dry-tart finish. 6pts
2. Dark Plums color, vanilla chocolate velvet body, soft dry on the sides of the mouth. Swirls and moves well.. Keeps me wanting more. I’ll buy a case. Must be a grande cru classé. softer tannins compared to #1. 9 points
3. cherry color, mineral cherry nose, Dry cranberries, light tannins and a dry finish.. Great with food. 8pts

We are getting set for our next blind tasting in August with Mosheim/Smith/Issa hosting will confirm a date and a wine for our next blind.

Until then, your wine captain! MH